A review of an Edinburgh hotel with a 'golden age of travel' ambience

Great British boltholes: Kimpton Charlotte Square hotel in Edinburgh has a ‘golden age of travel’ ambience – and is the perfect place from which to explore the city

  • Lizzie Enfield says the rooms are ‘comfortable and quirky, with great views and eclectic artwork’
  • She finds that the hotel’s Baba restaurant blends Middle Eastern and Celtic menus to ‘mouth-watering effect’
  • Guests can enjoy light meals, whisky cocktails and buffet breakfasts in the glass-roofed courtyard garden
  • There’s a touch of theatricality to Kimpton Charlotte Square, which sits on the fringe of Edinburgh’s historic New Town.

    A block north of Princes Street, overlooking an elegant garden square, the interconnected Georgian townhouses are right in the heart of the capital yet manage to feel tucked away.

    Stacks of leather suitcases and wicker umbrella stands lend a golden-age-of-travel feel to the entrance that permeates beyond in the Moroccan-themed library with its jewel-coloured fringed velvet chairs, low tables and fireplaces decked with lanterns and African jugs.

    Kimpton Charlotte Square (pictured), which sits on the fringe of Edinburgh’s historic New Town, has an impressive Georgian frontage

    Kimpton Charlotte Square (pictured), which sits on the fringe of Edinburgh’s historic New Town, has an impressive Georgian frontage

    Lizzie Enfield says that there's a touch of theatricality to the hotel. Pictured is the hotel's map room

    Lizzie Enfield says that there’s a touch of theatricality to the hotel. Pictured is the hotel’s map room

    Stacks of leather suitcases and wicker umbrella stands lend a golden-age-of-travel feel to the entrance (pictured), according to Lizzie

    Stacks of leather suitcases and wicker umbrella stands lend a golden-age-of-travel feel to the entrance (pictured), according to Lizzie 

    Pictured is the Moroccan-themed library with its 'jewel-coloured fringed velvet chairs and fireplaces decked with lanterns'

    Pictured is the Moroccan-themed library with its ‘jewel-coloured fringed velvet chairs and fireplaces decked with lanterns’

    Bedrooms are all muted wood panelling and cream walls hung with an eclectic mix of artwork, sumptuous cushion-festooned beds, industrial-style desks, tartan throws and button-back chairs.

    The devil is in the quirky details: red, old-fashioned bedside telephones and enamel ‘tuck boxes’ with Scottish treats (Tunnock’s wafers and Mackie’s crisps) are positioned alongside tea and coffee. Draw the heavy velvet curtains to reveal views of the gardens. Step outside and see Edinburgh’s historic castle. The city has the buzz of an interval crowd as it re-emerges from lockdowns to a clutch of new visitor attractions.

    Just around the corner, the once-thriving House of Fraser store is now an all-singing Johnnie Walker Experience, with tours (from £25) charting the history of Scotland’s iconic square-bottled whisky (complete with tastings) and a rooftop bar with fantastic views.

    The ice rink is back after a break, as is the Christmas market, and there’s even a new train service to London operated by Lumo. It aims to take on the airlines with cut-price fares (from £19.90 advance bookings) and an eye-catching all-electric blue train. 

    'Bedrooms are all muted wood panelling and cream walls hung with an eclectic mix of artwork', writes Lizzie

    ‘Bedrooms are all muted wood panelling and cream walls hung with an eclectic mix of artwork’, writes Lizzie 

    Luxurious: Pictured is one of the hotel's spacious bathrooms, which features a freestanding roll top bath

    Luxurious: Pictured is one of the hotel’s spacious bathrooms, which features a freestanding roll top bath 

    Guests can expect sumptuous cushion-festooned beds in the hotel's rooms

    Guests can expect sumptuous cushion-festooned beds in the hotel’s rooms

    Both of the hotel's eateries are popular with locals for the exotic backdrop as much as the food, says Lizzie. Pictured is the courtyard garden that serves light meals and buffet breakfasts

    Both of the hotel’s eateries are popular with locals for the exotic backdrop as much as the food, says Lizzie. Pictured is the courtyard garden that serves light meals and buffet breakfasts

    The hotel's reception. 'For travellers, [the hotel is] the perfect place from which to explore Edinburgh,' says Lizzie

    The hotel’s reception. ‘For travellers, [the hotel is] the perfect place from which to explore Edinburgh,’ says Lizzie

    The hotel’s Baba restaurant blends Middle Eastern and Celtic menus to mouth-watering effect: the mezze plates, including baba ganoush with pomegranate and mint, whipped smoked mackerel with sweet and sour cucumber and chilli mozzarella, cost from £5. Mains including slow-cooked harissa lamb, chargrilled steak and grilled monkfish start at £13.

    The glass-roofed interior courtyard garden serves light meals, whisky cocktails and buffet breakfasts. Both eateries are popular with locals for the exotic backdrop as much as the food.

    For travellers, it’s the perfect place from which to explore Edinburgh, or stay put and allow the hotel to hog the limelight.

    Old-fashioned bedside telephones and enamel ‘tuck boxes’ with Scottish treats await guests

    Old-fashioned bedside telephones and enamel ‘tuck boxes’ with Scottish treats await guests

    Lizzie reveals that the hotel is located in the heart of the capital - yet manages to feel tucked away. Pictured is the Kimpton's lobby area

    Lizzie reveals that the hotel is located in the heart of the capital – yet manages to feel tucked away. Pictured is the Kimpton’s lobby area 

    The hotel's spa. Prices for B&B rooms at the Kimpton Charlotte Square start from £175 per night

    The hotel’s spa. Prices for B&B rooms at the Kimpton Charlotte Square start from £175 per night

    The rooms: Spacious, comfortable rooms with quirky, individual touches and great views.

    The USP: A golden age of travel ambience that harks back to its 18th Century surroundings.

    The food: Middle Eastern mezze and charcoal-grilled Scottish lamb, beef and seafood. 

    TRAVEL FACTS

    Kimpton Charlotte Square, Edinburgh. B&B rooms from £175 per night (kimptoncharlottesquare.com).

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